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Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)

Condition Basics

What is dissociative identity disorder (DID)?

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a rare mental health condition. It was once known as multiple personality disorder. People who have it have two or more separate personalities. But they often don't know that the other personalities exist. And they can't remember things that happen when the other personalities are active.

What causes it?

DID may be a response to childhood trauma. People with DID may form separate personalities to deal with physical and emotional pain.

What are the symptoms?

Having separate personalities can change behavior and cause memory loss. And it can affect how a person thinks, feels, and acts. People with DID may feel anxious and stressed about the effects that separate personalities have on their life.

How is it diagnosed?

A mental health professional usually diagnoses DID while treating the person for other conditions like anxiety, depression, or trauma-related disorders.

How is dissociative identity disorder (DID) treated?

Counseling is usually the main treatment for DID. The goal is to slowly merge the different personality traits together. This is called integration.

Treatment may include:

Therapy.

Types may include supportive, cognitive, or cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Hypnosis.

This can include learning self-hypnosis and calming techniques.

Medicines.

Antidepressants may be helpful.

Credits

Current as of: June 16, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Fred Volkmar MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Lisa S. Weinstock MD - Psychiatry